Candidates Brief Biography
Ms. Harimbolam Alala Rakoto Andrianjaf, 21
Harimbolamalala RAKOTO ANDRIANJAFY is a town planer technician.
She started working in that field immediately after graduating from university. She got a Bachelor of Science in Town planning and Development in 2013. In addition to that, she received a technician certificate in house building and construction in 2012. She began by designing plan and working on urban projects. She also has some concepts on sustainable development and project management.
Member of the APUM (Association of Urban Professionals in Madagascar), she is globally recognized by her sociability and her ability to persuade young citizen to take part in town development. Furthermore, she is in charge of external communication of this association.
As a former leader of a Club for the UN, she struggles for economic empowerment, youth education, respect for human rights and especially women’s and children’s. She is convinced that the strong contribution of young people will lead to swift and sustainable development.
Ms. Irene Ikomu, 26, Uganda
Irene is a youth activist on governance and democracy who has been involved in the governance and policy dialogue in Uganda; she currently sits on USAID Uganda’s Democracy, Rights and Governance Advisory Board, has been recognized as an outstanding young leader by the U.S. Embassy in Uganda. She is a Pioneer Open Government Fellow with Code for Africa and Open Knowledge Foundation and founded the Parliament Watch Uganda, an initiative that seeks to create a more transparent, responsive, and accountable democracy by tracking ongoing legislative, budgeting, and other parliamentary processes and disseminating this information to the Ugandan public through various online platforms; website www.parliamentwatch.ug and twitter: @pwatchug. She was one of a select group of young Africans awarded the Mandela Washington Fellowship for civic engagement in 2014. She was awarded the prestigious Young Female Lawyer of Year 2014 Award by the Uganda Law Society in recognition of her great work and the inspiration to young female lawyers in Uganda. Irene has presented widely on youth and governance perspectives at many forums including the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, the Pan African Parliament.
Ms. Margaret Koli, 28, Kenya
Margaret represents Human Needs Project – a social enterprise based in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya. HNP is dedicated to building self-sustaining Town Centres in slums around the world. Centres that will prosper far into the future by working in complete partnership with locals to find the best solutions for the unique challenges encountered in each center location. She graduated with distinction from the UNESCO Chair for Peace, International Master’s programme on Peace, Conflict and Development (Universitat Jaume I, Spain), where she focused on sustainable development and natural resource management. She then worked with MSF – Spain to give human resource support to missions in Africa.
Margaret previously was a former UNEP- Tunza Advisor for Africa. She fundraised for various youth projects and helped to build the Africa Youth Environment Network. Additionally, she has had the opportunity to present to governments key environmental issues: involvement of marginalized societies in environmental governance, climate change, and the need to develop a more engaging strategy for youth.
Margaret has published in various academic journals and periodicals on the environment. She has also won various awards & scholarships by the Aspen Institute and Luo Hong Foundation.
Ms. Sarah Mwikali Musau, 23, Kenya
Sarah M. Musau is a Kenyan citizen born and raised in Kenya. Sarah holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology from the United States International University-Africa. Sarah has had over three year’s experience working for and with youth led organizations. She has worked with Leonard Cheshire Disability International LCD, Young Voices Project as an Outreach Volunteer and Young Voice Member where she advocated and campaigned for the rights of young persons with disabilities. Due to her zeal for youth with disabilities, she was privileged to represent them at the UN Youth Assembly Malala Event in New York, USA on July 2013. From this thrilling experience, Sarah was appointed as the Global Youth Ambassador for A World at School where she organizes and mobilizes other young people to stand up for every child’s education. She strongly believes, without inclusive education there will never be any development.
Currently, Sarah is a Project Officer at the Action Network for the Disabled; a youth led organization dedicated to achieving equality, inclusion and empowerment of youth with disability in Kenya.
Ms. Vanessa Phekani, 26 Malawi
I am a Malawian youth who believes that Africa has an untapped resource and I want to play an integral role in harnessing it.
While our continent of Africa is blessed with many resources; opportunities are limited for us, especially girls and therefore cannot contribute to changing our fortunes.
As I want to be the change I want to see, I am proactively involved in numerous youth empowerment projects like:
• educating and advocating for adolescents;
• campaigning against child trafficking;
• promoting gender equality;
• career develompment initiatives &
For the long term, I am developing a program called “Youth with a Purpose”; a social enterprise with the goal of inspiring the next generation to Step Up, Lead and Fulfill its Purpose.
Previously, I interned with UN- Habitat in the Youth Unit, which helped highlight the potential we have as young people, we merely need to be engaged to step up and lead.
I have the passion, zeal and can-do attitude to be an effective Youth Ambassador via the Youth Advisory Board and I will therefore be happy and honoured to serve.
Mr. Josias Ambeu, 29
Phares AMBEU is currently working as Global Internship Program Director with AIESEC in Côte d’Ivoire. He has over four years of experience working on youth potential development and Global internships Programs.
Through AIESEC Outgoing Exchange Program, he has contributed to send abroad 700 Ivorian young people for volunteer and professional Internships. He has also welcoming 430 interns coming from over the world. All those result facilitate collaboration with Youth Ministry, MICROSOFT, and DHL among other…
In 2014 AMBEU has done exchange never done since the Local Committee AIESEC Cocody in Côte d’Ivoire has been created. This allowed AIESEC in Côte d’Ivoire to get the AFRICA AWARD of Relative and Absolute growth in Africa. Furthermore, he has shared the Good Case Practice to empower other countries in Africa.
Working with Hungary, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Algeria, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Nigeria, Belgium and Liberia allowed AMBEU to have a good understanding of global youth issues.
AMBEU is a Telecommunication engineer skilled in youth development issues, project management, public relations... He speaks French and English has basic knowledge in Spanish and Russia.
Mr. Mathews Mhuru, 29, Zambia
Mathews Mhuru has over 7 years of experience in youth engagement and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) programs where he has developed, planned, implemented, and managed strategies in the areas of advocacy, awareness and service provision. He represents Marie Stopes International ant the National Technical working group for adolescents and he contributes to the development of youth work in Zambia. Since 2013, Mr. Mhuru has been with Maries Stopes International serving in business development, project management and is currently the Program Lead for Youth Engagement in which he works with programs team to develop and refine a youth engagement strategy to scale up sexual and reproductive health service delivery, including HIV prevention. Recent accomplishments include developing the service delivery models for Marie Stopes, managing a pilot project with the aim of providing access for adolescents to services (15 to 19yrs), using the design thinking approach developed by IDEO.org.
Mr. Abel Williams Cheayan, 26, Liberia
Abel Williams Cheayan is a Youth and Environmental Advocate. He is the President of the Natural Resources Research Initiative (NRRI). He has six (6) years’ experience working on issues that involve Youth development, and Human rights.
He participated in President Barack Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) Program. MWF is a flagship program that demonstrates President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa. Abel completed Civic leadership studies at Tulane University, in New Orleans, USA. In earlier 2015; he was hired by IREX via the United States Embassy, Monrovia to participate in the revision of about Seven hundred and Ninety 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows applications to select Simi-finalist 50 applicants for interview. He serve as interim Research Assistant with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, USA.
During the 2014 One Young World Summit, Abel motivated and led young leaders from more than 20 countries from around the World to present an “Act-now to stop Ebola” petition to the WHO in Dublin. More to his professional career development; Abel is undergoing international Executive Coaching in leadership through the Mandela Washington fellowship program
Mr. Usman Muhammad, 28
Usman Muhammad is Coordinator for Africa at the United Nations University’s Regional Center of Expertise -Global RCE Youth Network; he is also Founder and Executive Director at the Centre for Renewable Energy and Action on Climate Change an NGO that help bridge poverty gap in Africa. This was achieved through the creation of many youth led oriented programs.
He is Country Coordinator; Global Climate Ambassador at IPCC 2014; Mr. Muhammad is also a Global Volunteer at Connected Voices, he is also UNICEF Global Voices Youth Mapper, DRR-UNICEF, Co-Founder, Youth Climate Action YCA also Global Youth Ambassador A World at School. He is a Writer, Climate Tracker Project, INDC, Adopt a Negotiator. He was Country Lead Contributor on Rural Renewable Energy Researcher; Global Status Report (GSR2013) Mr. Muhammad is also a Campaigner for Sustainable Cities, he is Fellow, Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.
He has BSc in Economics from prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria; currently pursuing MSc in Education for Sustainability at the London South Bank University. He had certificates from universities and other development institutions across the globe.
Mr. George Ndung’u, 25, Kenya
George Ndungu is a young Kenyan who is very passionate about youth-led development and currently working with the Organization of African Youth as the Country Coordinator for Kenya. His work ensures meaningful youth engagement in development and policy making process. George hold a degree in Community Development and has immense knowledge and expertise in youth advocacy work, capacity building, programmes development, fundraising and partnership building, and planning & facilitating youth consultations. He has travelled widely including representing young people in regional and global conferences both for the UN and civil society. Of particular focus in his work is the current deliberations for a post-2015 agenda framework that leaves no one behind.
Though the Organization of African Youth, he has initiated partnership with the UN-Habitat in different initiatives including hosting 3 regional youth conferences at the UN Gigiri. By joining the youth advisory board, George brings in a lot knowledge and expertise particularly on youth-led development and advocacy. His aim is to ensure not only does UN-Habitat support youth development work but also becomes more open to youth ideas and their creativity.
Ms. Ru’a Al-Abweh
Ru’a Al-Abweh is a young architect, aspiring urban planner, and novice blogger. Her interests range from sustainable urbanism, placemaking, and city resilience to entrepreneurship, the creative industries, and the cultural scene. With a B.Sc. in Architecture and experience at Columbia Global Centers, KSP Juergen Engel Architects, and the Shelter and Site Planning Unit at UNHCR Jordan, she will begin a Master of Urban Planning as a Fulbright candidate at the University of Washington in Fall 2015. A believer in interdisciplinarity, Ru’a has participated in workshops and programs on public space design, politics, and business. She is a member of the Cultural Innovators Network (CIN), where she is part of the developing initiative Spatial Revival, aiming to bring life to neglected public spaces. She has also been nominated to represent CIN at the upcoming Global Forum for Youth, Peace, and Security.
In her free time, you’ll find her in a cozy downtown café blogging about issues that make her tick, searching for an interesting opportunity, or tackling one more to-do-list. Learn more about Ru’a on LinkedIn, Twitter, and her website.
Ms. Lama Alghalib
26, Saudi Arabia
Lama AlGhalib Alsharif, a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend, has led the volunteer-based life of a social activist. Beginning at the age of seventeen, she was selected as a youth representative of Saudi Arabia in the Two Kingdoms Conference in London, England; the Sixty-Third UN General Assembly Conference in New York, USA; the World Economic Forum in Amman, Jordan; the Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue Center in Vienna, Austria; and so on. She graduated with a BS in management information systems from Dar Al-Hekma University, and she earned a diploma in international relations and diplomacy from Tufts University. She also currently completed her Masters of Arts in international relations from Dar Alhekma University. Her first volume of poetry was published in 2006, and her second volume of poetry "Swimming in the Desert- The Uncensored Poetry of a Saudi Social Activist" has been published in 2014. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9p7VIdmPXQ). She is the founder and manager of Shababuna non-profit, which focuses on youth empowerment through awareness in five different sectors.(www.shababuna.org) For more information about Lama, please visit (http://lfalsharif.wix.com/lama#!about/c786)
Ms. Olfa Lazreg, 28
Olfa is a Tunisian citizen, with a Doctorate in Pharmacy, from Pharmacy University in Tunisia and MSc of Quality and Management of Health Services student at the Medicine University in Tunisia. I am an active and engaged member of several civil society organizations in my country with years of volunteering experience with NGOs working on HIV/Aids prevention, human rights, gender equality, civic engagement, sexual and reproductive health and rights. I have been interested in international development since an early age and I am convinced that young people should take an active role in national and global development processes. I believe that, in fulfilling their potential and rights and in giving them spaces for meaningful participation, young people will play a key role in the development process. I have worked with the global network (Y-PEER Network) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Djibouti and Tunisia where I participated in the coordination of the UN Country Team working group on adolescents and youth to better address some young people issues in Tunisia. During this time, I worked closely with young people to design, implement and evaluate youth oriented projects and activities.
Ms. Aya Chebbi
Aya Chebbi, an award winning Pan-African Tunisian blogger and activist. She is the founder and chair of the African Youth Movement, and co-founder of the Voice of Women Initiative. Aya previously worked at the refugee camps during Libya’s civil war; at Bureau de Cooperation Tunisie-Denmark on youth development projects in Tunis, and at the Carter Center monitoring 2012 Egyptian Presidential Elections, in Cairo. However, she was blacklisted and banned from entering Egypt since March 2014. She previously served at different boards including CIVICUS Youth Advisory Group and the American Middle Eastern Network for Dialogue at Stanford (AMENDS).
Aya has became a world renowned blogger during Tunisia's Revolution and her pieces were published at OpenDemocracy, Al-Jazeera, D+C for Development and Cooperation, Your Middle East and Foresight for Development-Africa. In recognition to her achievements, in 2013, Aya has been named as one of the 28 Africa's most Outstanding Young Women leaders. In 2015, she has won the Excellence in Leadership of the African Youth Awards.
Check her blog aya-chebbi.blogspot.com and website ayachebbi.com
Ms. Maria Difallah
Maria is a Medical doctor and Human Rights Educator. She is the founder of Setif Empower youth Association- SEYA-.,a vibrant youth led organization that enhance the young people educational, leadership and entrepreneurial skills , focusing on building self-efficacy, and persistence, to promote self-determination skills and community empowerment. She is deeply concerned with issues of social justice and human rights in Arab and African countries. Most recently, She joined Algerian Assembly of Youth RAJA as event coordinator ,she has participated in organizing the Afro-Arab Youth Dialogue, Arab youth Forum in Algiers, represented NGO’s at several UN programs and conferences. She is also the Secretary General of North Africa International Model United Nations. Maria Co-Chaired the first Model African Union in Europe focusing on ‘‘Creation a decent job opportunities for young Africans’’ at UN headquarters Vienna.
She believes every young person is a stakeholder to the development of any nation and for the world to experience substantial change, young people have to rise up to this responsibility; more so that young people carry about Personal empowerment.
Mr. Hossam Hassan Ibrahim Ali
Hossam is an assistant lecturer at the University of Benha with a BA degree in Physical education, and Masters Degrees in Sustainable Peace and development through sport (from the international university of Monaco) and sports Administration (from the Russian international Olympic University).
Hossam has been involved in development work since 2005 as well as being a climate reality project leader since 2013. Hossam is co-founder of Open Space Egypt and the Egyptian institute of youth policy making. In 2014 he was appointed as the World Sport Alliance secretary-general’s representative in Egypt. He also worked for UNHCR on child protection and currently advises the Remal foundation in Egypt and is member of the anti-corruption international regional team.
Hossam believes in the role of sport, the positive impacts of sport on societies and how it can be used as a tool for development, peace building and social change.
An Egyptian living in Egypt, Hossam has lived and worked in England and India, studied and lived in France, Monaco, and Russia. He has travelled extensively in the Middle East, Europe and South Asia.
Mr. Hussein Murtaja
"Today's youth are the leaders of tomorrow", this is my motto. I’m Hussein Murtaja. I have a bachelor's degree in engineering and a Higher Diploma in applications and Entrepreneurship. I’ve practiced in many training courses about human rights and Entrepreneurship.
In 2006 I’ve been injured by a shoot in my head and it was a miracle that I'm still alive, to become one of the victims of armed conflict in my country. Certainly, I have to depend on myself to make my life again. A year later, I became a spokesman for the victims of wars and armed conflicts then I established a youth letters group. Through it, we began many community and voluntary activities. The most important of them was the first Model United Nation conference in Palestine in 2012. Moreover, we implement many of the youth initiatives that enhance the concept of constructive dialogue, respect each other's and spread the idea of a society free of violence .
And surely we can make our society better by hard working and believing in our capability.
Mr. Karam Alhamad, 25
Karam AlHamad is a human rights activist, Petroleum Engineering student, but most of all he is a free spirited freelance photojournalist. Karam is an activist focused on grassroots
journalism and the use of social media to empower the Syrian narrative. Karam’s activism in Syria led to his imprisonment four times, for over a year, by the Assad regime. Despite these grave setbacks, he has not given up and continues to work for a free Syria. Karam was the Director of the Media Office in Deir Ezzor, Syria. Karams work has been featured on local and international news outlets, including Reuters. He was a part of the Local Council of Deir Ezzor, the first democratic institutions to arise in Syria, lending to Karam experience in grassroots organizing. Karam's keen understanding of socio-political context and desire to forge democratic change, led to his acceptance into a fellowship in the United States through the Middle East Peace Initiative Program, Leaders for Democracy. During the fellowship, Karam attended the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and later went on to complete and internship with Amnesty International
Mr. Salah Algabli, 28
My name is Salah Algabli, from Taiz, Yemen. I have bachelor degrees in both International Economy and Legislation & Islamic Law, and am currently a Fulbright Scholar at Allegheny College in the USA. I am a founder of One Hand NGO which aims to empower and inspire young people by education, make a bridge between Arab students and Western students and create jobs opportunities for youth. In 2013, I was an ambassador for One Young World where I served on regional committee in Middle East and North African region to connect Arab young people to OYW and created opportunities for Arab young people to connect to the world, and addressed the most pressing issues in Global Business, Human Rights, Peace & Conflict, Leadership & Government, Sustainable Development and Education. In 2014, I was an International Youth Delegate for World Conference on Youth UN. I enjoy reporting on cultural, economical and political issues, as well as the freedom of young Yemeni people. I believe that we are the present, the future and we will be the great past of this world.
Mr. Fadi Abushammala
30, Palestine / Gaza
Fadi Abushammala is a Palestinian youth activist once I was elected as secretary general of Progressive Student Labor front in Al Aqsa University during my studying English language, then, in 2009 I became the executive director of Palestinian Progressive Youth Union. Since July,2010, I'm working in General Union of Cultural Centers as a youth program manager, I'm leading the Leadership Youth Committee (LYC) which focuses on making advocacy campaigns against the government to achieve the youth demands, I can proudly tell you that we succeeded to make them issue the Youth Law, and increase the youth costs in the national budget. Since 2012 we're working on publishing the tolerance in order to end the political split. I am an activist and trainer in development, youth and community issues, in addition to being UNESCO NET-MED Youth steering committee member in Gaza Strip. I've participated in founding LYC and Network of Human Rights Defenders in Gaza, moreover, I cansider myself as a motivated young man of numerous talents and considerable self discipline, enthusiastic, trusting and trustworthy.
Amir Ben Ameur 20, Tunisia
Amir Ben Ameur is a young Tunisian social activist, who advocates for youth development and democracy. Amir currently studies Economics and Political Science at the American University in Cairo as Middle-East Partnership Initiative Tomorrow's Leaders fellow. He took part in Youth Leadership Program for Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia. In March 2012 Amir founded WeYouth, a non-governmental organization that promotes youth participation in decision making, leadership, education, and civic engagement. He aspires to help young people build leadership skills in order to become change agents in their communities, making higher contributions toward socio-cultural, economic and political uplifting. He has directed several projects within his organization on gender advocacy, government transparency, and political accountability, and delivered trainings on leadership and youth development. Amir is also an American Middle Eastern Network for Dialogue at Stanford fellow, serving also as member of UNGLS steering committee. Amir was the chairman of a national campaigns which aim to provide information and raise awareness about the 2014 electoral process, targeting citizens located in neglected areas in rural areas of Tunisia, which were funded by UNDP and MEPI
Ms. Koel Wrigley, 26, Australia
Koel combines a passion for environmental sustainability with a Masters in Urban Planning. Koel has empowered youth in Australia, South Africa, and Vietnam to be environmental leaders and drive positive change in their communities through the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development and other not for profit organisations. Currently working as a community engagement consultant, Koel continues to be part of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition supporting their national training program.
Many of the biggest challenges facing the world including climate change, rapid urbanisation and increasing wealth disparity, are challenges that youth will have to bear. Therefore it is crucial that youth have a voice in decision making and planning for these challenges. This is why Koel is hoping to be part of the UN Habitat Youth Advisory Board, to ensure that youth are central to decision making and leadership in the creation of a sustainable urban future.
Ms. Uditi Agarwal, 26
'Uditi Agarwal is an Architect, Urban Planner and Culture Professional who has been working in the field of research, design and planning, focusing on urban and local development. Her work has actively engaged communities to promote the creative economy, the need for education and skill training as well as disaster preparedness, among others. Youth have played a major role in this as the key stakeholders, resource pool, target community and solution providers. Working in India, Brazil, UK and Netherlands in the past has allowed Uditi to deal with a diverse range of issues across sectors. Uditi has led participatory planning projects where youth are the key decision makers and become local change agents through organized community events. With a background and keen interest in the built environment, education, livelihoods and heritage, she hopes to bring a multi sectorial perspective to the UN Habitat Youth Advisory Board. Serving on it would be an opportunity to reach out to a larger network of youth across the globe, which has the potential and ability to make an empowered, collective difference.
Ms. Alexandra (Sacha) King, 25
Resident in Thailand
With my passion for social change, experience in cultural diversity and background in humanitarian work I am committed to creating sustainable environments that give back to their citizens. Imagine a world without parks, lakes or places to meet your friends. Our environment does impact our social and emotional well-being. Currently a postcode can determine race, class and access to resources. If cities were based on inclusion and equality, this would not create just cities but cities with more opportunities, less stigma, and less social pressures, reducing mental health impacts for all.
As a global citizen, social worker and compassionate youth; I have seen these impacts around the world. I am an Australian citizen, residing in Thailand; with an understanding of the impact of cities but also respectful of communities. We are aware of the effects of urbanisation on the environment, exploitation and health, but may not relate it to our near future. I believe in youth transforming the way cities are planned, developed and used, please help me be part of creating a prosperous future for all.
Ms. Anoka Primrose, 25
Abeyrathne is an environmental conservationist, eco-social entrepreneur and youth policy advocate passionate about education and sustainable urban development. She is the youngest female recipient of the Commonwealth Youth Award for Excellence in Development, is a Global Youth Ambassador with Office of the UN Special Envoy on Global Education, A World At School and the Office of Sarah and Gordon Brown. She was featured in the 25 List of the Most Influential and Powerful Young Persons of the World 2012 by Huffington Post and Youth Service America. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anoka_Primrose_Abeyrathne
Recognized as a British Council International Climate Champion and Global Changemaker, Abeyrathne’s urban sustainability efforts as the Executive Director of Growin’ Money – Sustain Solutions.org has lead to over 40,000 replanted Mangroves and a social enterprise/education programme helping over 5000 villagers in Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Cambodia with over 20000 volunteers. Anoka believes in the power of education and sustainable urban development playing the biggest role in young people hence provides access to education through social entrepreneurial skills building for better community based sustainable urban development. Abeyrathne is the youngest World Economic Forum Global Shapers in Sri Lanka
Mr. Senel Wanniarachchi, 23, Sri Lanka
Senel is Sri Lanka’s Youth Delegate to the United Nations. He was also a Youth Delegate at the 2013 UNHABITAT Governing Council Meeting. He is a columnist to several newspapers and blogs and is the editor of the online storytelling platform Adahas.lk. He was a member of the International Youth Task Force of the 2014 World Conference on Youth in. Senel was a Senator of Sri Lanka Youth Parliament and was also a member of the National Human Development Report Steering & Advisory Committee. He was a named a Rio+20 Fellow by Global Campaign for Climate Action and was trained by UNIDSR on Disaster Risk Reduction. Senel is a Social Media Fellow with UNFPA Sri Lanka and was named a Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights Champion by IPPF South Asia. Senel is a British Council Global Changemaker and was named a Commonwealth Changemaker in the run up to CHOGM 2013. He is currently completing his degree at the University of Colombo in International Relations and always finds himself exploring how social media could be used to drive social change.
Mr. Ho Yin William Chan, 26,
HY William Chan is a Chinese-Australian urban designer passionate in youth-led development, inclusive urbanisation, sustainability and poverty alleviation. He has actively contributed to designing cities and urban settlements over six years. William leads as the International Associate of Global Studio, an action-research initiative and UN-Habitat partner, where students and young professionals collaborate with slum dwellers on community-based projects. He volunteered in Africa and helped coordinate Global Studio’s inaugural India program. Over 600 changemakers, from 35 countries and 66 universities, have contributed.
William is a curator of Columbia University’s People Building Better Cities exhibition that initiates local action on participatory design in 20 cities across 10 countries. He represented Asia Pacific at two previous UN World Urban Forums and Youth Assemblies, helping draft UN's Urban Youth Declaration. He was a speaker for UN-Habitat's University Initiative and represented Pacific islands on Australasia's youth team for the 2009 UN Climate Conference. Through advocacy as a UNICEF Young Ambassador and UN Environment Asia Pacific Youth Leader, William understands Asia Pacific youth and urbanisation. William aims to champion young people in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. SM Shaikat, 25,
S M Shaikat is leading a youth organization SERAC-Bangladesh and working on youth leadership, economic empowerment, gender violence prevention, and human rights in Bangladesh for more than a decade. With his leadership, SERAC was awarded the 2010 UNHABITAT Youth grant that empowered 50 disadvantaged young women by providing life skills training. This innovation was later awarded the EarthTalent grant in 2013 and renamed as `Paribartan', continuing the training to disadvantaged slum living youth in Mymensingh.
As a youth change-maker, Shaikat was nominated as one of the 100 global young leaders by Women Deliver in 2013, and leading a number of youth dialogues in Bangladesh and globally. He was the moderator at the Bangladesh country working group at the 11th International Dialogue on Youth and Employment in Berlin in 2013; and a speaker at several youth events at the 69th UN General Assembly in 2014. Shaikat was also nominated by the US State Department to the International Visitors Leadership Program in 2013. For his vision social change Shaikat is also nominated to the Asian Young Leader for Democracy program this year.
Mr. Kabir Arora, 26
Kabir Arora: Kabir is a passionate geographer. Having lived in eight different cities of India, he is trying to make sense of prevailing urbanity. To earn his livelihood, Kabir coordinates Alliance of Indian Wastepickers – an informal network of organizations, cooperatives, and companies working on waste management with the help of wastepickers and is currently based in Bengaluru. With a deep interest in the dynamics of urban informal economy, Kabir undertook impact study of Inclusive Cities Programme in Ahmedabad, Gujarat commenced by Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). He firmly believes that informal economy work-force has entrepreneurial zeal and if supported a little, they can make significant contribution towards economic growth. In addition to his interest in informal economy, Kabir follows the discourse on sustainability quite thoroughly and is a Board Member of Indian Youth Climate Network. He participated in Conference of Parties (COP) – 11 (Hyderabad), 12 (Pyeong Chang) of ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’, and COP 20 (Lima) of ‘United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’. He writes regularly on the issues of waste management and climate change on www.wastenarratives.com and www.whatswiththeclimate.wordpress.com
Mr. Achmad Solikhin, 25, Indonesia
Achmad Solikhin is a student of Bogor Agricultural University. He conducted student intership progs in ICRAF, UNESCO World Heritage and UNCCD Land for Life Award. He was actively involved on youth-Ied organizations, such as Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network of UNFAO, UNEP TUNZA SEAYEN, UNESCO YPA Community, UNICEF VOY, UNICEF Climate Change Mapper, TUNZA Eco-generation and IFSA. He is one of the founders of the Indonesian Green Action Forum (IGAF) which engages children, youths and local communities with more than 55 rural and urban eco-projects in Indonesia. During his involvement in IGAF, he received prestigious international environmental awards such as UNESCO Youth-Ied Initiative Grant Scheme, SEAMEO BIOTROP YEO, Climate Change Grant Scheme of GEF Small Grants Programme UNDP, UNEP SAYEN Handprint Challenge, Citizen’s Forum Organizer of 7th World Water Forum and UNESCO Sandwatch Sustainable Beach Snapshot. In addition, he represented Indonesia youths to several international competitions and UN conferences such as UN High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda, COFO & WFW UNFAO, UNEP SEAYEN Meeting & SIWW, UN Side Events of the 7th WWF, and UNESCO YPA Meeting.
Mr. Brabim Kumar K.C, 29, Nepal
Brabim is an activist, researcher a writer and youth leader from Nepal. In December 2014, Brabim was popularly nominated as the president of Association of Youth Organizations Nepal (AYON), an award winning national umbrella network of 92 youth organizations. Since April 25, 2015, in the wake of the earthquakes in Nepal, Brabim has overseen a large-scale mobilization of urban youth in relief and resettlement works. Under Brabim’s charismatic leadership, AYON has also galvanized various international youth groups. Brabim’s leadership has also led Al-Jazeera, BBC, New York Times, as well as national media to document AYON’s work. The 2015 post-earthquake time marks Brabim’s decade-long commitment to youth-led activism. In 2004, Brabim founded ‘Creative Youth Society’ and started a national radio show ‘Youth Vision’. In between 2004 and 2015, Brabim has had several national and international exposures; Public Information Officer's role at UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan to National Communication Specialist for Nepal's Ministry of Urban Development, youth producer at Equal Access Nepal and UNICEF. Brabim is one of the20 young international researchers selected for a global project on youth policies.
Ms. Katerina Gavrielidou, 26, Cyprus
Katerina is a young leader from Cyprus, passionate about urban affairs and youth participation. She is currently a Learner at the World Innovation Summit for Education and a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum. She formerly served as Youth Ambassador at Cyprus Youth Council, representing Cypriot and European youth on local, national and global summits. She also interned at the European Parliament in Brussels, and specialized in Emerging Markets finance at Edmond de Rothschild in London. Katerina is educated at the London School of Economics with a MSc in Politics and Government in the EU, and the University of Lancaster with a BSc in Business Studies. In 2014 Katerina was nominated by the Republic of Cyprus to represent her country at the World Conference on Youth. During the UN-style negotiations, she achieved the incorporation of key resolutions on Full Employment and Entrepreneurship in the Colombo Declaration on Youth.
Through this role Katerina aims to involve young Europeans into the UN urban debate. Her relevant experience across Europe, and extensive network of contacts worldwide enables her to do so successfully.
Ms. Lise Waltzien, 26, Norway
Ms. Meloe de Reuver, 23, Netherlands
Maloe de Reuver (23) is a student and young professional with a strong interest in issues related to poverty, inequality and inclusive development. Maloe holds degrees from Amsterdam University College (BA Liberal Arts and Sciences) and King’s College London (MSc Emerging Economies and Inclusive Development). She has wide-ranging working experience in development practice, having worked with various NGO’s, a development consult, the private sector, and UNESCO. Born and raised in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, (cycling capital of the world!) she has many strong views on sustainable urban development, especially in the area of transportation. Besides Europe, Maloe is also familiar with the rapidly urbanising contexts of China and East-Africa. She enjoys doing research; organising workshops and events; and working in groups with people from different backgrounds. By becoming a board member on the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board she hopes to raise awareness for issues that are important to youth (focusing on education, employment and creative industries), and to increase youth participation in UN-Habitat initiatives, thereby making effective use of social media and mobile phone technology.
Ms. Wasima Khan, 29, Netherlands
Wasima received an LL.B. degree in Tax Law, and LL.M. degrees in Financial Law and Tax Law from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Wasima Khan is a member of the Ambassadors Network of the ECHO Foundation, a Dutch expertise center for diversity policy with the mission “to contribute to an inclusive society that allows everyone, regardless of their background, to maximize their potential”. The ECHO Foundation carries out various projects in the Netherlands to show the power of diversity and to empower multicultural youth, such as the ECHO award, an award for excellent Dutch students in (higher) education with a non-western background; and the ECHO Junior Academy, a university for (bi-cultural) children in primary education who are the first ones of their family to enter a higher education institution in the future. Wasima volunteers as a video translator for the Khan Academy, an American non-profit educational organization with the mission to provide "a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere". She has been a guest blogger on social entrepreneurship at the Pro Journo blog with articles featured on the Huffington Post.
Ms. Caroline Romero Trueba, 27, Spain
Caroline Romero Trueba is an enthusiastic Spanish citizen. She studied Fine Arts and a Teaching Master’s Degree at Complutense University of Madrid. She is really into education and children, since the second year of her degree She was working in the Education Department of her school, developing different projects in “MUPAI” (Pedagogical Museum of Children's Art) such as “CurArte project” and “CompluArte”. CurArte project emerges as a multidisciplinary proposal, to advance in the improvement of life conditions of hospitalized children and adolescents.
Carolina studied one year in the Athens School of Fine Arts with the Erasmus programme and She attended to Central St Martin’s School in London and International Instituted of Human Rights in Strasbourg as well.
Carolina collaborated with other departments of Complutense University School of Fine Arts on several different projects.
Nowadays She works as a teacher of extracurricular activities and as a volunteer at UNICEF as well. Her cooperation in several of its programs is remarkable. Carolina displays a good attitude and seeks to challenge herself and others to achieve their potential. Carolina is always learning.
Mr. Abdelkarim Bellafkih, 29, Belgium
I’m Abdelkarim Bellafkih, a 29 year old engineer who was born and raised in the city of Antwerp (The Flemish part of Belgium). I’ve lived for 5 years in Brussels where I studied at the VUB, the University of Brussels. After graduating I returned to Antwerp where I started to work as a project engineer for the Flemish Government. I'm a son, brother of 8 sisters, husband and father of the most beautiful girl in the world.
In 2011 I’ve started a youth- and volunteering organization called Free Hands based in Antwerp. The main goal of this organization is to motivate young people to dream and to reach their personal goals in life.
I’m also active in a few other social and cultural organizations but also in organizations with a goal to reach a better urban future.
Mr. Jonas Freist-Held, 23, Germany
Jonas Freist-Held (23) studies Political Science at the Free University in Berlin and the University of California, Berkeley. After graduating from high school in 2011, he moved to Nicaragua and volunteered for an environmental education organization in the city of León. During the year, he participated in a project aiming to create a green town district in León in cooperation with the municipality, local schools and youth groups. Since 2013, he is the representative of the youth advisory board (YAB) of the child rights organization Plan International Germany. The board carried out successful campaigns e.g. on universal birth registration (“Make me Visible”) and currently launched a campaign on climate change. In November 2014, he presented the “Make Me Visible” Campaign at an UNESCAP-conference in Bangkok. Besides his studies, he works as a student assistant in corporate communication at the research institute Fraunhofer FOKUS that aims to develop smart city concepts. The applied research aims to facilitate life in growing cities with the help of innovative IT solutions.
Mr. Peter Mladenov, 25, Bulgeria
My name is Peter, currently based in Bulgaria. I refer to myself as a positive young advocate dedicated to promote youth rights and development.
I’ve been always trying to work with young people from all over the world focusing on the ones living in rural areas, having limited access to services or neglected. Being in 21st century I cannot accept the fact that there are young people who are forced to face these kinds of conditions.
Thus I have dedicated almost one third of my life so far for working for promotion of the Human Rights of young people all over the world. I have started as a volunteer at the age of 14, doing peer education trainings linked to HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health. This has had a major impact on my personal believes and understanding. I have been always trying to find the best platform through which I can lobby for youth rights.
I see the YAB of UN HABITAT as the next platform through which I can dedicate my work for the development and support of young people around the world
Ms. Cecile Pilot, 26, France
Cecile Pilot is a youth activist for CliMates, an international think & do tank looking for innovative solutions on climate change. Born in France, she is currently student in Human Rights Law at Strasbourg University of Law & Political Sciences. She is concerned by rapid climate change and uncontrolled urbanization driving child poverty, as 175 million children are already hit by climate disaster every year.
In 2013, Cecile was living in Japan where community resilience greatly developed in the aftermath of Fukushima disaster. On her way back to France, she engaged in COP in MyCity, an international youth project led by CliMates, which ambitions to bridge the gap between UN climate talks and youth, and inspire climate action in all cities of the world.
Cecile’s engagement in CliMates culminated in March 2015: During the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan, she was member of the Organizing Committee for the Children & Youth Forum, and the youth facilitator of a climate negotiations’ simulation game attended by 50 international young participants.
Mr. Christophoros Pavlakis, 30, Greece
Christoforos is a UN Habitat Youth Fund mentor with experience in executing out of the box solutions, especially in cross-cultural team building to generate impact. Driven by conviction in all he does, he believes in that only with noble purpose can long term, sustainable success be achieved, and cooperation as the most symbiotic solution to achieve solutions. His impact ranges from international organisations (at the European Parliament, the Francophonie), INGOs (such as the ONE Campaign platform), to grassroots community organisations. He is a huge believer in the power of youths to affect change in the betterment of their communities and serves in the task force on the campaign focusing on the UN SDGs related to access to quality education and to the creating of inclusive, peaceful societies. His candidacy aims at putting forward the understanding of housing as a human right.
Ms. Jamilla Sealy,
Jamilla Sealy is the Regional Chairperson of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN). She is a West Indies’ University graduate with MSc degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Management (Climate Change focus) and a BSc degree with honours in Environmental and Natural Resource Management. Through CYEN, she has been an avid advocate for climate change within her country and the region and focuses on educating youth and the general public about environmental issues. She has organised consultations for youth and civil society, coordinated activities and research for CYEN. She represents CYEN on the National Climate Change Steering Committee of Barbados. Additionally, she has worked with the Action/2015 Caribbean campaign which aims to mobilise citizens around the world to combat poverty, inequalities and climate change. She represented the Caribbean at the 2015 Tunisian Assembly and has been named a regional contributor to the GEO-6 report. She has also been an educator, teaching Environmental Science at the CAPE level and at the Queen’s College Continuing Education Programme in Barbados. She aims to become a natural resources management specialist and continue enabling youth to address development issues.
Ms. Jodykay Maxwell
Jodykay Maxwell is a University of Cambridge graduate with a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development. She is a Jamaican national with experience in environmental sustainability and passion for youth empowerment and development. She is currently employed to United Nation Environment Programme-Caribbean Environment Programme where she provides programme management support to a range of environmental issues in the Caribbean and Latin America. In 2013, she was recognized by the Governor General of Jamaica for her outstanding work in youth development and received the Governor General Achievement Award for Excellence and Youth Leadership. She currently serves as a youth ambassador with the Governor General of Jamaica Excellence Program and is well connected with a number of youth organizations such as Caribbean Youth Environment Network. She has also been invited to participate in a number of international forums including UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development Youth Conference and World Conference in Japan November 2014, London Climate Change Forum, 2013 among others. Noteworthy, she was instrumental in galvanizing the support and participation of Jamaican youths in the recent Climate Change citizen debate hosted by the French Embassy in Jamaica.
Ms. Alexandra Pierre
26, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Alexandra is the national Coordinator of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) in her country. She is a specialist in education for sustainable development from ESPE in France. When Alexandra started her architectural engineering minor at the Haiti Faculty of science, she thought that it was just one of the conventional means to help her develop her creativity. However, she realized architecture was not only an art, it was “the art of building regarding to the needs of an epoch” How to build for inhabitants with different social and financial needs? How to plan for authorities in rush of immediate habitat response, How to involve communities into the design of their local urban plan? Alexandra is a Master student in water & environment and education for sustainable development. She has received 2 prizes: a “Blue passport” from the water sector and a nomination as the Most outstanding young person of Haiti for the environment category. Alexandra believes that Youth should be upfront the decisions being taken within the habitat sector, to ensure the durability of the actions laid today for tomorrow.
Ms. Debora Gouveia
Debora Leao, was born in São Paulo. Social entrepreneur and youth advocate, co-founder of Engajamundo, a youth-led nonprofit that seeks to empower and engage youth in international policymaking processes that could shape our future. With a passion for youth empowerment and building a sustainable future for our world, she has been engaged in nation-wide networks dedicated to promoting social entrepreneurship from her early years of university. Began working with UN processes in 2012, as co-creator of a local University Committee for Rio+20, an outreach project to include students in the environmental debates taking place in the context of the conference. At Engajamundo, she has worked as Communications Coordinator for the past two years and has also taken different roles in the organization’s advocacy and outreach activities. Represented the organization at the Habitat III PrepCom 2 and was recently elected Deputy Organizing Partner of the Habitat III Working Group of the UNMGCY. Previous to her work in Engajamundo, worked as consultant at the British Consulate in São Paulo and as advisor at the Brazil Permanent Mission to the UN.
Mr. Leonardo Parraga
Leonardo is a 22 year old Colombian activist passionate about community empowerment and social justice. He is the founder of the BogotArt Foundation, an organization promoting a more democratic art and cultural scene in the city of Bogotá. Leonardo and his team use the art to transform marginalized neighborhoods into cultural hubs. Due to its contribution to social inclusion management in today’s cities, BogotArt has been recognized by UN- Habitat as an important organization which brings youth perspectives in the spotlight. Leonardo is the leader of the Utopianos project, a platform that connects young people with development opportunities to enhance their academic and professional profile, thus having access to better job opportunities. He cooperates in Bogotá with local organizations at a grassroots level like La Redada and Favela Mundo in Brazil and spearheading social inclusion in informal settlements and slums. He has experience working with young people at an international level in projects like We Are Nepal, Peace Agents and We Are Peace. Leonardo holds a BA in Business Management from University of the Andes and completing his specialization in Entrepreneurship from the University of Maryland.
Mr. Luis Wilson Lechon Sanchez
My name is Wilson Lechón, Ecuadorian degree in biological and environmental sciences, I am pursuing a specialization in law and economics of climate change. I am part of the youth of the Andean and Latin American region, I represent editor for the Youth Network of Latin America and the Caribbean "RIO + VOS" I saw also involved in different processes such as climate negotiations; Conference on Sustainable Development Rio + 20 High Level Dialogues on Sustainable Development Rio + 20; processes Capacity Building Network Management; COP20; Conference on the State of the Law on Environmental Issues (OAS); International Meeting on Climate Change in Latin America and the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, among others.
The participation of youth is one of the main pillars for the construction of the new development agenda that is why I invite all men and women continue to be part of the discussions, and that their contributions will be one of the main inputs for generating global public policy.
Mr. Julio Lima
Julio has always believed in the power of change of young people. He has worked along with more than 30.000 young volunteers that like him have the desire to change the world. He has a degree in IT and has previously worked as a consultant. He coordinated online courses for young social entrepreneurs at the NGO Youth Action for Change and coordinated digital communications and institutional development at the NGO TECHO for two years. In 2011, Julio decided to devote himself fully to social causes and assume a role of Director at TECHO a non-profit that conducted projects in more than 100 slums and carries out community development programs in 30 communities in Brazil. TECHO has mobilized thousands of young volunteers since 2006 in Brazil. Julio has led initiatives on volunteering programs and the emergency housing program (2000 houses built) and now leads the Brazilian operation of TECHO as the National Social Director.
Julio attended the V World Urban Forum, Rio+20 and the Peoples Summit. He is also a 2015 fellow of the Ford Motor Company and 92nd Street Y.
Mr. Aldo Arce
Aldo is a young social entrepreneur, who convinced of not wanting more decisions of youth without youth founded a youth-led organization to participate into the local decision making.
Born in Mexico City, a large city with over 20 million people he surfed by first hand the challenges and opportunities of urban life and experienced the need to raise the voice and perspectives of youth in such a large and competitive city so he founded Puerta Joven an organization that works unleashing the power of arts and new technologies to give an opportunity for indigenous, LGBT or African Descent youth to express their urban solutions through creative ways - video, apps, music, drama, design & dance- and the channels to be heard by the decision makers.
Aldo advocates for the potential of arts, diversity, ICT and youth to build safer and inclusive cities. Urban spaces where being indigenous, LGTB or African descent it's not an obstacle to enjoy the urban life. Aldo holds a degree in Communications and postgraduate studies of Latin American Youth at FLACSO Argentina.
Mr. Anis Badi Zarate Khalili
Badi Zárate Khalili is a youth leader and community developer. He currently studies Urbanism at the University of Guadalajara and is the regional delegate for the National Urban Planning Student Association. He is an activist for the right to the city, through his membership and work in different local, national and international organizations including UN Hábitat and state and municipal government agencies, focusing his expertise and recent research in youth and junior youth capacity building and mobilization, governance and public participation, metropolitan and regional studies, human rights protection, amongst other things. Additionally, he has worked on the promotion of youth volunteer participation in urban education for children projects, public participation systems, urban cycling activism, as well as Model United Nations. He has served as a volunteer in the social action programs carried on by the International Bahá’i Community for over 7 years. Living in Canada, Israel, Mexico and Chile and being the son of an indigenous Mexican man and a naturalized Iranian mother has helped him understand the importance of unity in diversity for a world in development.
Mr. Geraldo Porteny Backal
21, Mexico (living in the USA)
Gerardo is a youth leader, philanthropist and social innovator, a restless Human Rights activist, actively supporting the livelihood improvement of women and girls globally. Gerardo is a mentor for the UN-Habitat Urban Youth Fund and served as the consultant of global youth engagement for UN Women, working on the HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality. He is a Serial Non Profiteer having founded 5 NGO’s based in Mexico City, including the Pink Life Against Breast Cancer which he started when he was 16 years old and fundraised more than $1,150,000 MXN for the fight against breast cancer; Pink Life Racing, a professional car racing team that races non-profit in benefit of a social cause; Young Men for Gender Equality a global youth coalition operating in 40+ countries for the advancement of women rights. Gerardo has imparted a wide array of Public Speaking presentations from TEDx talks in London and Barcelona to panels at UNICEF, universities and schools amongst them NYU and Stony Brook and recently Key Noted the Nexus Australia Youth Summit, The Oslo Saloon and the Youth Assembly at the United Nations. He holds a degree in business and law from Universidad Iberoamericana and the University of Oxford and is currently studying Political Science at New York University.
Mr. Hung Vo, 20
Hung is a student in Urban and Regional Studies at Cornell University and a researcher in city planning, with his recent co-authored paper appearing in the Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards. He currently works for the US Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development, while being a North America Regional Contributor for the upcoming edition of the UNEP Global Environment Outlook and a blogger for the Huffington Post. In the past, Hung was the Director of Policy of the International Youth Council, a moderator for The World We Want consultation on “disadvantaged children and young people living in urban areas” and the Lead Major Group Focal Point for the UN Open Working Group topic of “sustainable human settlements.” At the World Conference on Youth, he was an International Facilitator for “Environmental Protection, Emergency Preparedness, and Youth-centered Urbanization.” Hung has been a speaker at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Emerging Global Leaders Seminar, the Youth Assembly at the UN and TEDx. He was the recipient of the Nebraska Governor’s Points of Light Award in 2013.
Mr. Liam O'Doherty, 28
Ontario , Canada
Liam is a community organizer from Toronto who is passionate about youth empowerment and integrated approaches to social and environmental challenges. With a background in theatrical improvisation and environmental organizing, Liam has over a decade of experience contributing to groups and campaigns oriented towards making positive change. He has been working as a Community Animator, Partnerships Coordinator and Director of Digital Youth Engagement Programs with TakingITGlobal. Through projects such as Youthmovements.org, Commit2act and CultureConnect Liam’s work explores the role of technology to connect and empower young people as drivers of positive community development. He has contributed to a wide range of social movements and organizations including: the Toronto Public Space Committee, Greenpeace, PowerShift, The Global Youth Coalition on HIV and AIDS, The Global Youth Action Network, MGCY and YOUNGO. Liam has been advocating for increased youth influence across several UN processes including the UNFCCC’s COP, UNCSD and the Rio+20 Conference, the ICPD Beyond 2014 review and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal negotiations. He serves on the youth advisory boards for Civicus: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Recrear, The Canadian Youth Climate Coalition and the UNFPA’s Youth Leadership Working Group.
Mr. Mohammad Asideh, 28
Palestine -Nationality United States -residence
After giving up his early childhood dream of becoming a Palestinian soccer player due to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Mohammad has made the next generation of Palestinians the focal point of both his civic service and personal life. In addition to Mohammad’s role as an Atlas Corps fellow working on expanding Cure Violence’s impact in the Middle East and North Africa regions. Mohammad has five years’ experience with the OneVoice organization as Program Officer of a Youth Leadership Training program which equipped him with the knowledge, passion, and commitment needed to address many of the obstacles the current and next generations face. Mohammad considers his work as a Process Engineering consultant, helping establishing Public Services Centers in seven Palestinian municipalities, as his most impactful experience because it engaged neglected and marginalized community groups and included them in the municipalities’ strategic plans. Mohammad won the Generations For Peace Samsung Award for Impact for his own personal journey of change with Generations For Peace, training 300 youth leaders and involving more than 3,500 children in Peace Building programs in Palestine.
Mr. Aaron Joshua, 24, Canada
Aaron Joshua Pinto recently completed his HBA at Western University in Canada majoring in International Relations and French. Years of passionate engagement in social issues have taken Aaron from the crèches of post-Apartheid townships in Cape Town to the bustling streets of Mumbai all the way to the villages of Puerto Carreño. In high school, Aaron co-developed a scheme to help people living below the breadline by delivering food hampers to migrants, elderly, and survivors of abuse in his community. Upon returning from exchange in Europe and a development stint in Russia, Aaron founded the Canadian Youth Think Tank, an organization first of its kind in Canada comprised of engaged young Canadians that produce editorials on national and global public policy news and developments. Aaron was previously elected as a City Youth Councillor in his hometown of Mississauga and he was also selected as Canada's OSCE Youth Ambassador under Switzerland’s Chairmanship, a role which later allowed him to be an international election observer in Ukraine. For his work, Aaron has been recognized with the Queen’s Young Leaders Award.
Ms. Olivia Labonte, 24, Canada
Olivia Labonté is an urban economist with a passion for integrating youth in sustainable urban development. She has advised and worked with a number of local and international institutions. She is the Program Director of Young Diplomats of Canada- a NPO that advocates for youth-inspired public policies, by enabling young Canadian leaders to participate at the highest level of diplomatic negotiations. Last year, Olivia represented Canada at the official youth engagement group of the G20, where she collectively produced a cohesive policy framework that addressed the challenges faced by the global youth, which was then presented to global leaders at the G20 Summit. Thereafter, she was invited to be a panelist at the 2014 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the IMF. Olivia is pursuing her Master's in applied economics. Her thesis focuses on finding solutions to sustainable development challenges caused by rapidly increasing urban populations in emerging nations. She is currently doing place-making research in South Africa. Olivia's academic research and professional activities will give her an efficacious voice for the urban youth perspective within the UN-Habitat.
Ms. Chiara Camponeschi, 28, Italy- Nationality
Chiara Camponeschi works at the intersection of urban sustainability, social innovation, and interdisciplinary research. As an advocate for youth empowerment and intercultural dialogue, Chiara has been involved with organizations ranging from the UN-level to the grassroots, including the CIVICUS Youth Assembly Planning Committee and UNESCO’s Sectoral Commission on Culture, Communication and Information.
She is the founder of Enabling City, an organization that works internationally to democratize the conversation about urbanization, engaging a diverse community of residents and practitioners in sparking new ways of thinking about participatory governance, community resilience, alternative economies, urban sustainability, and more. For her work, Chiara has been recognized as an Oxfam Action Partner for 2010-2013, and a Young Agent of Change by Toronto’s Centre for Social Innovation (2011). She has spoken at high-level events such as the International Forum on Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the European Commission in Belgium, and the White House GreenGov Symposium in Washington, DC. A 2013 Trudeau Scholar, she is pursuing a PhD with a focus on emerging approaches to urban resilience
Ms. Jordana Vasquez, 27, United States
Jordana’s dedication to social responsibility and design stems from her many years living in the Dominican Republic. Determined to pursue mediums that could empower communities and forge better living conditions, she studied architecture as her creative platform to aid those facing adverse housing challenges. In 2010 she was awarded the first annual WNBA Inspiring Women scholarship, granting her the opportunity to move to New York to study architecture at Pratt Institute. While there, she even further immersed herself in community organization and engagement, volunteering with the America Reads program and Pratt Community Board. Her experience with Community development rebuilding homes in post-Katrina New Orleans was emblematic of the impact she hopes to have worldwide. With her academic and hands-on training, Jordana’s goal is to advocate for innovative and purpose-driven solutions. Over the course of her short career, Jordana has already collaborated with TECHO, Habitat for Humanity, Liter of Light, Architecture for Humanity and other community-led design organizations. When she isn’t trying to save the world you can find her on the volleyball court or mixing song tracks.
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